North Carolinians grade Trump, Cooper

Elon results split along party lines on governor and presidents first 100 days

RALEIGH — A new Elon University poll found that President Donald Trump’s favorability in North Carolina has slipped among registered voters, but that most opinions on current political topics — including his presidency — are heavily partisan. The poll also revealed that Gov. Roy Cooper has a 48 percent approval rating four-plus months into his tenure.Trump won 49.9 percent of the N.C. vote in November’s election, but the poll, conducted April 18-21, revealed only 41.6 percent of North Carolinians approved of how he has handled the job as he approached the 100th day of his presidency. More than half (50.5 percent) of the 506 people polled disapproved of the job Trump has done.Cooper’s support outdistanced the North Carolina General Assembly — 54.4 percent of respondents disapproved of the job the state legislature is doing, compared to 28.8 percent who approve.The poll used a random sample of North Carolina voters contacted on both cellular and landline phones, and the results show an electorate that is divided along party lines when it comes to national and local politicians, health care and the media.While Trump’s popularity has seemingly slid — national polls have the former businessman’s approval rating in low 40s, on par with Elon’s results in N.C. — Republicans overwhelmingly support him while Democrats disapprove in near-opposite numbers.Just 6 percent of Republicans disapprove of Trump’s performance, compared to 88 percent who approve. Meanwhile, Democrats disapprove of Trump at an 87 percent rate, with just 7 percent satisfied. Independents leaned toward disapproval, 54 to 38.Cooper’s numbers weren’t as stark, with just 70 percent of N.C. Democrats supporting him, but also 24 percent of Republicans approving of the job he’s done. Independents approved of Cooper at a 50 percent clip, compared to 28 percent who disapproved.When asked about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the law passed under Trump’s predecessor, former President Barack Obama. N.C. The vast majority of N.C. Republicans wanted lawmakers to continued to pushing to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, a promise they made before and throughout the 2016 campaign.The Elon poll found 84 percent of N.C. Republicans wanted Trump and the GOP to continue their efforts to overturn the law, but 86 percent of Democrats preferred to move on from the topic.Those North Carolinians polled who were 73 or older were the only of four assigned age groups who favored continued pursuit of the replacement of ACA (45 percent) over moving on (40 percent).Millennials favored moving on from repealing Obamacare, 54 percent to 39 percent, as did both Generation X (49 to 47) and baby boomer (50-47) respondents, but within the margin of error (+/- 4.4 percent).Walter Watson, a 62-year-old retired art teacher in the rural North Carolina town of Gatesville, is among the baby boomers who are seemingly undecided on Obamacare. He said he did not like the way Trump and Republicans tried to rush through a new health care plan without giving it what he thought was proper consideration.”You got to be careful, because this is a life and death issue for a lot of people,” Watson said.Sparsely populated Gates County where Watson lives backed Obama with 52 percent of the vote in 2012, but Trump won it with 53 percent in 2016.The decisive victory was a surprise to many pollsters. Surveys taken throughout the campaign proved to be incorrect leading up to the 2016 election. Polls, including Elon’s, projected Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton with a slight edge to become the United States’ first female president. Trump dismissed the polling numbers during the campaign and his win threw the polling industry into turmoil as Democrats and Republicans questioned methodology and results moving forward. Reuters contributed to this report.